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Coronavirus: How is the omicron variant progressing in Latin America and what could happen in the region?

Coronavirus: How is the omicron variant progressing in Latin America and what could happen in the region?

Coronavirus: How is the omicron variant progressing in Latin America and what could happen in the region?

Until this Monday, in America the omicron variant of the coronavirus COVID-19 has been officially detected in Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and the United States. But, as the epidemiologist Ernesto Gozzer notes, it is very likely that “the virus is already in Peru”.

Because no matter how hard countries try to close their borders and veto flights from the south of Africa -a ChileFor example, non-resident foreigners who have spent the last 14 days in South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Eswatini and Mozambique cannot enter the country. omicron takes the lead.

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There are two important findings to consider about the new variant, Gozzer says. “A study He stated that omicron apparently has a high ease of transmission in the community. To this must be added that people who have already been infected with COVID-19 have a higher rate of reinfection than with the delta variant”.

And if we delay in detecting it, it is because, basically, the variant is new and the “sequencing takes ten days, and the result comes out in two to three weeks. So when it was detected omicron, it was already circulating”.

The data, according to the Reuters agency, are irrefutable: omicron “It has spread to about a third of the states of the United States”-The first case in that country was detected less than a week ago-, although the delta variant it is still the predominant one.

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In any case, the situation led New York to declare this Monday that all private sector employers must apply the obligation to vaccinate their workers against COVID-19.

Should we expect governments to establish new quarantines or tougher curfews?I don’t know exactly what they will do, because they have a tendency to take effective measures to give the appearance that they are protecting people.“Says Gozzer.

Quarantines don’t have much of an effect. What does help is screening before travel, and it could also result in people coming from high-incidence countries being quarantined. What would have the greatest effect is to speed up vaccines. Peru has already passed 60%, but we have to increase the effort”, He adds.

On the veto of flights to countries, for example, in southern Africa, the doctor Leslie Soto notes that the need for governments to seek expert advice is evident. “Because you react the wrong way, blocking measures are taken, but without taking into account epidemiological knowledge”.

At the beginning of any pandemic, the idea is always to close borders. Unfortunately, this virus has the possibility of forming the same variant anywhere in the world“, Add.

Chile, which have a high vaccination rate (80% with two doses), Could it be saved from an omicron onslaught?Technically, people could be infected, but they should not have severe symptoms”, Says the expert.

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The inaction of Mexico and Brazil

It is surprising that there are nations, such as Mexico and Brazil, that prefer not to take any action regarding omicron.

There are no items to worry about. There is no solid information on whether this variant is more dangerous than the others.”, Declared the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Your Brazilian peer, Jair BolsonaroIt seems to follow the same line -with a clearly denialist tendency-, although there are certain states of the country that have taken the bull by the antlers. Full vaccination is in River of January, to cite one case, essential to go to the movies or stadiums.

In response, Bolsonaro shouted to the sky.

The immunization passport is fashionable by some mayors. It is a way to discriminate and separate people, we must ensure the freedom of those who want and those who do not want to be vaccinated”.

About, Leslie Soto opines: “This is precisely what I mean when I talk about the lack of coordination between governments and expert groups.”.

Gozzer agrees: “I totally disagree with not promoting vaccination. The best tools we have are the vaccine and personal prevention measures”.

It must be remembered that what continues to work best is to maintain social distance, wear a mask, avoid visiting closed places”.

To consider

The arrival of the omicron variant in America should make governments be attentive to certain issues, he points out. Evangelina Martich, doctor in social policy and health policy consultant.

First of all, we must be attentive to new cases, especially since little is known about the strain, its symptoms and level of contagion.”.

The second has to do with the structure of health systems that already “they come tired after the last year and a half”. How long could they hold out in the face of a drastic increase in positive cases?

Access to the vaccine it is also diametrical. It is not only worrying that, in the region, it is unequal, but also “there are sectors of the population that are reluctant to be vaccinated”.

The fourth is the arrival of the summer season to much of the region.

While it may favor, for example, outdoor activities, there is also a greater tendency to relax with care measures”.

In addition, people are also tired by the time we have been in a pandemic and because, being vaccinated, there are those who do not believe that they will not be infected”.

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